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Unique Issues in Florida Boating Accidents

Unique Issues in Florida Boating Accidents

Florida has the most miles of coastline in the continental United States, and as such, it is a veritable haven for swimmers and boaters, with the highest number of registered vessels in the country. However, accidents happen, especially when tourism season gets into full swing. If you or a loved one has been injured in a boating accident, it can sometimes be difficult to get the information and support you need. A knowledgeable attorney can help. Multiple Different Possible Causes Boating accidents can be innocuous, or they can be severe, not unlike automobile accidents. However, there are factors at play that can make it more difficult to assess causation. Causation can be complex at the best of times, but certain unique factors are seen with boats that simply do not occur on land. For example, in recent years, boating laws have been seen almost as guidelines rather than laws that must be obeyed, and as a result, people do not slow down or observe caution as they perhaps ought to. Operating a boat under the influence of drugs or alcohol is common, and studies show that approximately one-third of all boating fatalities involve either the victim or the boat operator being intoxicated. The fairly lax licensing requirements mean that inexperienced boaters are common. Vessels must be titled and registered unless they meet an exemption, but in Florida, only those born after January 1, 1988, must have a Boater Safety Education Card. People who are older than that do not require any kind of proof of education or training. It is, of course, possible to be inexperienced or reckless despite...
Florida Slip and Falls

Florida Slip and Falls

Especially for the elderly, slip and fall accidents can be dangerous and even life-changing. However, many people are unaware of the specific regulations surrounding these common accidents and how to go about asserting their rights if they believe someone has been negligent. Consulting an experienced attorney can make a big difference in your case and may even be the difference between being awarded compensation and receiving nothing. Florida Law Falls are the most common cause of emergency room visits, making up approximately 20 percent for the general population, with an even higher percentage for those over age 65. Most slip and falls are caused by an unknown substance on the floor of a business establishment or pathway. The relevant statute governing these “transitory” substances lays out the requirements in a straightforward manner. In order to recover, the injured person must show that the business had constructive knowledge (that is, that workers ought to have been aware) of the substance being on their floor. Given that it is difficult to establish constructive knowledge without resorting to circumstantial evidence, the statute sets out ways in which circumstantial evidence can be used. There are two situations in which a court will likely ascribe constructive knowledge to a defendant business or landowner. The first is if the condition occurs regularly – for example, if ice crystals form each winter on a particular stretch of sidewalk or pathway. In a case like this, the owner of the land would be said to have constructive knowledge of the “transitory substance” (in this case, ice) on the path it is his or her responsibility to maintain....
How to Minimize Your Risk as a Florida Pedestrian

How to Minimize Your Risk as a Florida Pedestrian

In recent years, Florida pedestrians have had an increasingly difficult time. The most recent data available from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that pedestrian accidents have risen nationwide, with fatal accidents rising approximately 9.5 percent in one year, which is statistically significant. While the cause of this spike in fatal accidents is only partially known, it is incumbent upon you and other pedestrians to know your rights. If you are injured, it can make a difference if you and your attorney have a good grasp of the fundamentals. Statistics Show Disproportional Danger While the national statistics show a sharp increase, Florida’s increase from 2014-2015, which is the most recent available data, is somewhat slower. Pedestrian accidents rose around 3 percent, while pedestrian fatalities rose 4.3 percent from the previous year. However, the data still shows an increase in pedestrians being injured on Florida streets, and it is important to try to figure out why such a phenomenon may be occurring. In Broward County, the rate of pedestrian accidents rose by approximately 3.5 percent, but in terms of total numbers, the county is second in the state in accidents (1,079). It is somewhat hazardous to be a pedestrian in Broward County. A yearly study done by Smart Growth America (SGA) charts the rise of pedestrian danger in communities as a method of guiding potential urban planning. The trends found among both drivers and pedestrians give cause for comment. Perhaps most importantly, in almost 75 percent of accidents, the speed limit on the road was 40 mph or higher. This makes sense in terms of the percentage of...
Nursing Home Injuries in Florida

Nursing Home Injuries in Florida

Mistreatment and neglect of the elderly is an endemic problem, especially in a state like Florida that has a higher elderly proportion than average. However, neglect takes many forms, including institutional neglect that can lead to accidents and long-term injuries. Incidents that might seem minor to a younger person can cause more physical and/or emotional harm in an elderly person, and whether something happens due to intentional malice or due to neglect, it nonetheless may be actionable. Injuries Due To Negligence Florida nursing homes have racked up a disturbing pattern of abusing and neglecting their patients. The state’s Long-Term Care Ombudsman report for FY 2016 shows approximately 9,600 complaints filed statewide with both nursing homes and assisted care facilities, and of those filed against nursing homes, the number one complaint cause was “Dignity and Respect.” Staff attitudes can contribute to an atmosphere of negligence around both the building itself and around its residents. Florida is also somewhat unique in that the law establishes a specific civil cause of action for abuse of the elderly, as opposed to making those aggrieved bring suit in general negligence law. The statute holds that any vulnerable adult who has been “abused, neglected or exploited” has a cause of action against the perpetrator, and may recover both actual and punitive damages if the facts warrant. The victim may bring suit, or their legally recognized guardian or conservator may do so. One important thing to remember, however, is that under this cause of action, the perpetrator’s employer may not be held vicariously liable for his or her actions, unlike when a suit is brought in...
Can Florida Businesses Be Liable for the Actions of a Drunk Person?

Can Florida Businesses Be Liable for the Actions of a Drunk Person?

It is an obvious fact that drinking and driving is a deadly combination and can result in a very preventable tragedy.  Tragedies are only magnified when a drunk driver kills multiple people, such as when on New Year’s Eve, 2016, an alleged drunk driver killed five individuals when driving the wrong way down I-95 in Florida, or when two young children died and six others were hospitalized from an alleged drunk driver in October of 2016. For those who survive a drunk driving accident, life is irrevocably altered but they must pick up the pieces and find a new normal without their loved ones or learn to live with their new injuries and physical limitations.  When the driver’s insurance only covers a small portion of the damages or when the drunk driver ends up in jail and with no assets, where do the injured and aggrieved parties turn to in order to pay for the injuries and losses?  If a mother or father of a household can no longer work, it is a legitimate question to ask as to how the family will survive financially. In many cases, it may be necessary to prove liability beyond the drunk driver themselves and look to the establishment that served the driver the alcohol.   Dram Shop Actions Florida’s Dram Shop law is limited compared to other states and only covers two specific circumstances.  In Florida, a bar or establishment that serves or sells alcohol may be liable for the damages or injuries caused when they do either of the following: Willingly and unlawfully sell or furnish an underage person alcoholic beverages; or When...
Amusement Park Liability in Florida: It’s All Fun and Games Until Someone Gets Hurt

Amusement Park Liability in Florida: It’s All Fun and Games Until Someone Gets Hurt

Amusement parks and theme parks are by definition supposed to be fun for all and a pleasant distraction from life.  As with many things in life, however, going to an amusement park is not without risks of injury.  It is difficult to quantify the risk of amusement park and theme park rides because there is no single, central clearing house that collates such statistics, such as exists for traffic accidents. However, in Florida, injuries happen regularly on the premises of amusement parks for a variety of reasons.   The Florida State Department of Agriculture oversees some amusement park safety, but only for smaller, traveling carnivals.  Larger theme parks are not legally mandated to have their equipment inspected by a neutral third party, with the threat of sanctions for failure to adhere to basic safety features.  There is some limited federal oversight by the Federal Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC), but that agency generally gets involved only after an accident occurs in order to rectify the problem and prevent further injuries.  That means that even one simple shortcut employed by a theme park manager or employee can potentially mean life-altering injuries for you or your child.   Legal Liability for Amusement Parks and Theme Parks There are three general grounds for which an injured party can recover from an injury sustained at an amusement park or theme park: Simple negligence Premises liability actions Products liability The following is a brief overview of each of these causes of action stemming from amusement park accidents and injuries.   Negligence at Amusement Parks and Theme Parks As for negligence, it is a general, all-encompassing legal...
What if I Have to Miss Work Due to an Injury?

What if I Have to Miss Work Due to an Injury?

When you think about losses incurred due to a car collision, fall or another type of accident, you likely first think about medical bills. While medical expenses can be substantial and can cause serious stress, your concerns may increase if you also have to miss work while you recover from your injuries. Fortunately, the law allows you to not only recover from the negligent party for medical costs but also for all injury-related losses, including losses from missing work. Types of injuries that commonly keep you from working Many different injuries can keep you from performing the necessary duties of your job depending on your particular profession and the severity of your injuries. Some of the most common injuries that can cause you to miss work include the following: · Neck and back injuries – Neck and back injuries can require you to rest as part of your treatment and can significantly limit your mobility. Sprains, strains, dislocations, and other injuries to the neck or back can especially affect your ability to work if your job requires heavy lifting, moving, pushing, or pulling. · Traumatic brain injury (TBI) [1] – A concussion or another type of TBI can have a significant effect on your cognitive and physical abilities. A TBI can make it difficult for you to follow instructions, communicate with others, stay focused on a task, and much more. Your balance and coordination may also be impaired during your recovery. In addition, if you have a TBI, you will have to refrain from any type of activity that may risk a subsequent head trauma until your injury has...
Is There a Hidden Cause of Fatigued Driving in Truck Drivers?

Is There a Hidden Cause of Fatigued Driving in Truck Drivers?

Because they spend hours and days on end behind the wheel, a major concern regarding truck drivers is fatigued driving. When a driver becomes seriously fatigued, the effects can be similar to intoxication, as a driver will lose the ability to focus on the road, will have slower reflexes, and will have lessened decision-making skills. In addition, if a truck driver falls asleep behind the wheel, a massive vehicle that potentially weighs 80,000 pounds will be barreling out of control down the highway, possibly taking out anything in its path. A main culprit of fatigued driving is the long hours on the often monotonous highway. In response to this, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) enacted and enforces strict hours of service limitations, which restrict the number of consecutive hours or days a truck driver can be working without taking a certain period of rest. However, even with hours of service regulations, truck accidents continue to occur due to fatigued drivers. Recently, the FMCSA has been paying closer attention to a health condition that may be contributing to fatigued driving among commercial drivers – obstructive sleep apnea. What is Sleep Apnea? Sleep apnea is a condition that reportedly affects approximately 22 million people across the United States. The condition causes a pause in breathing during sleep and these pauses can happen hundreds of times in a single night. When the person stops breathing, they will wake up briefly to restart their breathing. This means that people with obstructive sleep apnea may involuntarily wake up as much as 30 times per hour during the night and such disruptive sleep can...
Ft. Lauderdale Dog Bite Injuries Can Be Much More Serious than Cuts and Scrapes

Ft. Lauderdale Dog Bite Injuries Can Be Much More Serious than Cuts and Scrapes

Millions of American households have a dog as a pet, and it is easy to see why. Dogs can be excellent companions, act as living, breathing security systems, and even provide support for people who are struggling with disabilities. Unfortunately, they also are capable of causing extremely serious injuries when they attack. When most of us think about dog bite injuries, we tend to think of cuts, scrapes, bruises, and other similar injuries that can result from teeth coming into contact with skin and muscle. While it is certainly true that many dog bites result in these types of injuries, it is also true that dog bites can cause other issues that can be just as serious, if not more so. Some of the more common of these are discussed below. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder,1 or PTSD, is a condition that sometimes develops in people that have experienced a stressful, frightening, dangerous, or shocking event. In recent years, the condition has received significant attention in relation to combat veterans who develop it, but it can occur after a type of traumatic event, including a dog bite or attack. The symptoms of PTSD can make it difficult to engage in daily activities or work, often significantly disputing the lives of sufferers. Some of the more common symptoms of PTSD include the following: Flashbacks of the traumatic event Nightmares Unwanted thoughts Avoiding things, events, or places that could serve as reminders of the traumatic experience Difficulty remembering the event Mood swings Anger Anxiety Feelings of guilt or shame Serious Infections You may have heard that dogs’ mouths have fewer bacteria...
How Injuries can Happen During Your Hotel Stay

How Injuries can Happen During Your Hotel Stay

As the winter holidays approach, many people are booking hotel rooms to stay near family and friends or simply to get away from the hustle and bustle and relax on the beach. While many hotels may do their best to accommodate guests and provide an enjoyable and safe atmosphere, many injuries can occur during a stay in a hotel or resort. The following are only some examples of how people may be injured in hotels during this holiday season. Slip and Falls Like any other type of business or property, the risk of slipping and falling may exist if the owners fail to take precautions to eliminate any potentially hazardous conditions on the premises. Many different conditions can lead to slip and falls, both on level ground and in stairwells or on ramps. Some possibly dangerous conditions may include the following: Carpet or flooring that is overly worn and therefore slick Rugs that are not secured and may shift Wet spots on the floor from spills Failing to clearly warn hotel guests that floors are wet or have recently been cleaned Door jambs and other small steps that may not be noticeable Electrical cords that are not lining the walls out of the path of guests Objects in walkways Loose or broken railings on staircases or ramps Steps that are too steep, slick, or different sizes Swimming Pool Accidents Many hotels specifically advertise that they have pools or hot tubs in order to attract customers – especially those with children who will enjoy using these facilities. However, there are many risks associated with hotel pools and many of these...

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